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Divided power systems, such as the United States, the European Union, and the Federal Republic of Germany, confront a common question: whether the central government may 'commandeer' its component States, that is, whether the central government may issue binding commands that force its component States to take regulatory action with respect to private parties. This chapter explores what may initially appear as a puzzling difference in the answers given. Whereas US constitutional jurisprudence currently prohibits commandeering, the founding charters of the EU and Germany permit such action. And all do so in the name of protecting the integrity and importance of their respective component States.


This material was originally published in The Federal Vision: Legitimacy and Levels of Governance in the United States and the European Union edited by Kalypso Nicolaïdis, and Robert Howse and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press For permission to reuse this material, please visit